Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Ruthless senator & distant father
“Our party has the House, the Senate, and the governor’s mansion. We should be able to get done anything we want, right?”
“Nathan’s made it his personal mission in life to gum up everything. He drags out debates as long as possible on the Senate floor. He turns the atmosphere completely toxic. He accuses opponents of corruption and drags up scandals all the time. Most of them totally baseless but convincing-sounding. He files lawsuits against legislation my mom’s passed for being unconstitutional. He plays to the media and turns every day into a new crisis, with Dems being out to drag the state to hell and himself as the only person who can stop them. He just sucks all of the oxygen out of the room.”
“And forget ever getting anything bipartisan done. If my mom wanted to re-pave a highway, he’d scream it was her fault it needed to be re-paved, he’d scream it was only costing so much money because she was embezzling, he’d scream we were wrong to re-pave the highway in the first place, he’d scream it’s my mom’s fault when it hasn’t been re-paved yet, he’d scream he’s filing a lawsuit because re-paving highways the way we’re doing it is unconstitutional, and then once the highway was finally re-paved, he’d scream he could have done it ten times better and how the people of Louisiana deserve more from their leaders.”
“He just obstructs everything. Turns everything into a war. I can’t even imagine how big a headache he’d be if we didn’t, you know, control every branch of the government. And he’s working like a demon to change that. The state’s trending redder. He makes it feel like we’re losing even when we’re winning.”
Hillary Cherry, before the 2010 elections that brought Nathaniel’s party to statewide power
Nathaniel has a crisp and forceful speaking voice that rarely fails to make itself heard. His exact demeanor varies by his audience. To his opponents, his temper is terrifying as he shouts and blusters like a raging hurricane. On the flip of a dime, though, that storm can calm to a gentle breeze of smiles and charm. It’s given mental whiplash to no small number of people—precisely Nathan’s intended effect. Neither demeanor completely reflects his actual personality, though the former comes closest. Behind closed doors, Nathan doesn’t routinely lose his temper so much as routinely let it boil to the surface. He’s short of patience for fools and never fails to make known his displeasure at the weakness and incompetence of others.
Nathan is a tall and imposing man, though still shorter than his wife Claire or his daughter Caroline in heels—a fact which mildly annoys him. His once-brown hair is streaked through with gray, but his handshake remains firm and his body in trim condition despite his advancing age.
When in public, Nathan wears the dark suits and leather shoes that are the uniform of any male politician. He always wears an American flag pin on his jacket lapel. He prefers neckties in dark and subdued colors.
Name: Nathaniel Victor Malveaux
Ethnicity: Creole by descent, but the Malveauxes are sufficiently white and distant from their roots to identify as simply American.
Date of Birth: August 3rd, 1957 (Metairie, Louisiana)
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Brown
Education: J.D. (Cornell Law School, 1979—1982), B.A. Political Science (Cornell University, 1975—1979)
Occupation: U.S. senator (2012—present), state senator (1984—2010), corporate lawyer, Malveaux Oil (1982—1987), state representative (1982—1984)
Religion: Roman Catholic
There has always been a Father Malveaux, but if Nathan gets his way, there will always be a Senator Malveaux too.
Nathan was born to power. As a son to Louisiana’s richest family and most prominent political dynasty, any path in life was open to him. Where Orson was attracted to the church and Matthew intended to enter the family business, Nathan knew since junior high where he wanted to make his mark: politics. His uncle Carter, the family’s then-patriarch, had served as a U.S. senator and died in an untimely plane crash when Nathaniel was eight. Much to a teenage Nathan’s disgust as he learned more of his family’s history, his father James had declined to pursue elected office. Instead, he’d consolidated his power over the Malveauxes by backstabbing, discrediting, and ruining anyone he deemed a threat to his position. The estate left in Carter’s will for his son Carson was surprisingly small: rumors abounded that James had stolen his brother’s wealth.
While Nathan had no objection to the ruthless exercise of power, more concerning was the fact that more Malveauxes hated James for his brutal and domineering ways than feared him. Yet, none moved against him. Rumors abounded of help sought from “outsiders” to whom James now owed his present power. Indeed, though James could be a cruel and vicious man, he lacked subtlety and was more apt to destroy the objects of his goals than to actually obtain them. He relied heavily upon the advice of Nathan’s mother Camillia, whose mind was shrewder than his own, but pride and pettiness kept him from consistently acting on it. Nathaniel was 16 when he finally realized the truth: his father was a dull-witted tyrant who had advanced himself by weakening the family.
This would not do.
Nathan gritted his teeth and waited out his youth until he was powerful enough to challenge his father. He would run things better, once it was his time. He gladly departed Louisiana to attend college and law school at Cornell, where he cultivated his own alliances and connections. The most profitable of these would be with his future wife Claire Monroe, a similarly driven and ambitious woman whom he married upon his return to Louisiana in 1982. While some relatives disapproved of Claire for being noveau riche, her family of California television executives was exactly what Nathan was looking for: his mother’s advice to James was often slanted towards advancing the waning fortunes of her own family, the Lawlesses, whom Nathan judged a spent force. Marrying someone from so far out of state neatly removed any conflicts of interest. Claire would be loyal to her husband alone.
Nathan spent his 20s working as a corporate lawyer for Malveaux Oil’s in-house legal department while concurrently serving as one of the youngest legislators ever elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. When he was 27, he moved up to the state senate. He’d barely turned 30 when he announced he was running for governor in the 1987 election and switched his party affiliation to the Republican Party.
To people who didn’t know James’ youngest son, the news came as a surprise: the Malveauxes had been Democrats since Reconstruction (a little-remembered fact today). Nathan publicly stated that the GOP better shared his values, but more cynical parties observed the young legislator had little chance of securing the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The party had been in power since the 19th century and there was no shortage of older, more established candidates looking forward to occupying the governor’s mansion. The state Republican Party, however, was not seriously expected to win. Nathan saw a simultaneous opportunity to run for the Pelican State’s highest office and mold a political party into his own image. If he won the election, no one would be able to deny him anything—including his father.
James attempted to rein in his disobedient son. Nathan refused to be cowed. When his raging father threatened to disinherit him, Nathan threatened him right back: he’d not been idle these past five years. He’d cultivated strong alliances with both of his brothers, each of them divvying up their ambitions into church, business, and politics to reduce infighting. He’d won friends among relatives such as Thomas and Carson whom James had alienated. He’d developed strong relationships with the family employees, including Carter’s old chief of staff, Caleb Gallagher. He hadn’t approached any of them in “open rebellion” against their patriarch, but he could. Did his father want a war?
James left his son bleeding on the floor from a broken nose. Then he declared he would let the would-be governor “suffer and burn” of his own accord.
Nathan took the win for what it was.
The GOP, seeing nothing to lose, let the already wealthy and connected Malveaux scion have the nomination. Much came of his gubernatorial bid. The media avidly speculated that the young senator might pull off an impossible upset. In the end, though, prevailing political winds worked against him. Only three of Louisiana’s 24 governors since 1900 had been Republicans, despite the party overwhelmingly carrying the state in the electoral college. This election proved no different.
It remained, until 2016, the only election Nathan ever lost.
His Only Loss
Everyone thought the young hotshot would accept his place and return to a quiet career in the state legislature. They thought wrong. Nathan continued issuing orders towards party colleagues like he’d won the election. Fellow legislators scoffed at the size of his ego and told him he no longer ran the party. Nathan decided demonstrations were in order.
Caleb Callagher, the chief of staff for his gubernatorial campaign, was a vicious cottonmouth who’d decided he liked the cut of Nathan’s jib. He stayed on with Nathan despite the electoral loss that everyone else was abandoning him over. Caleb’s loyalty would not be forgotten over the coming decades, and in the present it served them both well. Even in 1988, Caleb was already a mean old man (at 44 years old) who everyone hoped would shrivel up and die: he had an instinctive nose for where the bodies were buried. Together, he and Nathan went to war with their own party. Three legislators who’d tried to put Nathan in his place found evidence of drug use, extramarital affairs, and assorted dirty laundry leaked to the press and law enforcement agencies. All three men resigned their seats. One hanged himself in his home office after his wife divorced him. In the words of one embittered party insider, “Nathan would’ve driven the Titanic into an iceberg and set it on fire if he couldn’t be captain.” Nathan proved he was willing to drive his own party into the ground if he couldn’t have power. After all, power was the only reason he was a Republican—the Democrats were the winning team. He had no reason to stick with the losers if he wasn’t in charge.
Nathan’s colleagues stewed and fumed. They hated him.
But in the end, they relented.
Nathan was in charge.
The Party Chairman
While Nathan presented an undaunted facade in public, behind closed doors he was disgusted at his earlier miscalculation with the failed gubernatorial bid. He hated losing. Defeat still taught him a valuable lesson: one man couldn’t instantly transform the entire state. Capturing the governor’s mansion wouldn’t mean anything if his hands were tied by a Democratic cabinet and Democratic legislature. If Nathan wanted his party to seize statewide power, he concluded they would need to do so across all offices and legislative seats, and install one of their own as governor for the final coup de grace.
Nathan spent the next 20 years pursuing that vision. One of his most valuable subordinates would be Maxen Flores, another young legislator looking to make his mark in the Pelican State’s politics. Nathan’s vision took years of grueling work, but was rewarded with steady gains among the legislature and even (to his pleasant surprise) a Republican governor from 1996 to 2004, though true to Nathan’s expectations, the Democratic legislature and cabinet officials stymied the effective exercise of such executive power.
Nathan’s greatest political triumph came in 2010, when he flipped the two legislative chambers—both Democratic since Reconstruction—to Republican majorities amidst widespread discontent with President Omar Afumba. Longtime Democratic Senator Joseph Kelly saw the writing on the wall and switched his party affiliation to the GOP. The Kellys had always been friendly with the Malveauxes anyway. Fred Pavaghi moved in to the governor’s mansion. With a triefecta Republican government in place, Nathan’s 23-year labor was finished. Colleagues heaped him with praise. Nathan would go down in state history as the man who’d flipped Louisiana red. Everyone expected he’d take an active hand in the new state government, with an eye towards shepherding his legacy. He could rest on the laurels he’d earned for the rest of his life.
Nathan just moved on to his next goal: federal office.
The next two years were the new majority leader’s busiest yet, and saw him oversee a fervid rush of legislative work concurrently with ramping up his campaign for U.S. Senate. The sole concession he made to that workload was resigning as state GOP chairman. The 2012 Senate election was one of the most vicious and hyper-partisan in state history. Nathan ran on blistering, scorched-earth rhetoric like it would have spelled the apocalypse itself for Noelle Cherry to win. Operatives such as Roger Ferris, meanwhile, leaked the medical records of her daughter Hillary and the fact that Noelle had signed off on the then-17-year-old’s abortion. Perhaps Noelle expected contrition after Hillary attempted suicide, or even just respectful silence. Nathan publicly accused his opponent of “almost murdering her own daughter” and blamed her the girl’s suicide attempt. Even Noelle was stunned by Nathan’s sheer audacity. In the words of one journalist, “He brought a flamethrower to a knife fight.”
It paid off. On January 3rd, 2013, the vice president swore in Nathan to the Senate on his uncle Carter’s bible.
No longer being the biggest fish in the pond rankles Nathan a bit, but he also relishes D.C.‘s new challenges. National politics are an altogether different level of staked, viciousness, and byzantine complexity from podunk Louisiana’s. In his wife Claire’s words, he has truly thrived in Washington: “He swims with the sharks.”
Indeed, Nathan has already made many allies among the Senate GOP caucus and has happily joined them in their unprecedented obstructionism of Democratic president Omar Afumba’s legislative agenda. Nathan is more than happy to reduce Congress to a state of permanent gridlock if that means denying political wins to the rival administration. After all, it’s the president who takes the blame. He serves on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and is thought to have his eye on Senate leadership.
Louisiana rarely enters in Nathan’s thoughts these days. In truth, he disdains his home state as a bunch of backwoods hicks and prefers to spend time in D.C. He’s already moved most of his personal effects from his residence in Baton Rouge to a D.C. townhouse he now regards as his primary home. After he wins his first re-election in 2018 (and in his mind, establishes a true lock on his seat), he plans to spend as little time in the Pelican State as possible. It’s not as if he has much to fear from a Democratic challenger in the state’s post-2010 political environment.
Nathan keeps closely abreast of affairs in his home state, though, and laments the loss of the governor’s mansion to Democrats in 2015. He’s been known to rant in private to aides about how he was “singlehandedly holding that party of incompetents together!” It’s a blow to Nathan’s pride that his political legacy in Louisiana has been partly undone, but it’s unlikely he plans to campaign for the next Republican gubernatorial nominee—the most they’ll probably get from him is an endorsement. State politics are in the past for Nathan and looking back is not his way.
Nor, for that matter, is being content where he is. If Nathan has his way, the Senate may be in the past for him too. For all that body’s prestige, Nathan’s first “real” election (that he stood a chance of losing) was for governor, and part of him still craves executive power. While some allies want Nathan to make a play for majority leader once he’s accumulated enough seniority, others have talked about returning to Louisiana and running for governor. It’s the ones who talked about an even higher office that turned out to be right: in mid-2015, Nathan announced his bid for the presidency. He made it through the Iowa and New Hampshire 2016 primaries before dropping out.
It was the second election he lost. Allies consoled him that this is common in presidential politics: many nominees for their party are runners-up in previous primaries.
Nathan, though, just hears “loser” and resolves not to lose next time.
Anyone who knows Nathan doesn’t doubt there will be a “next time.”
Nathan retains many friends among the Louisiana Republican Party, who remember they only achieved a simultaneous trifecta and triplex government under his leadership. Since coming to Washington, he’s spent much of his time courting new political allies, both inside and outside the Senate.
According to numerous investigative reports, Nathaniel Malveaux is worth several hundred million dollars. In the World of Darkness, it is more common for the ultra-rich to hold direct political office. Nathan isn’t even the wealthiest member of Congress, but he is rich enough to show up on the Wikipedia article for “List of current members of Congress by net wealth.” He derives his income from stock in the family company, Malveaux Oil, as well as inherited wealth from his father James. (Resources •••••)
As of 2016, Nathan hovers around 80th seniority in the U.S. Senate: not being a former House member or governor has moved him down a few spots next to other senators elected in 2012. He sits on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and has an eye to lead it someday. (U.S. Senate Status •••••)
Nathan is one of the “three kings” alongside his brothers Orson and Matthew who rule the Malveaux family. Nathan finds it acceptable for Orson to serve as a first among equals in running the family—he’s less interested in running the Malveauxes than national politics these days. (Malveaux Family Status •••••)
Nathan sits on the board of directors for Malveaux Oil. Although federal law prevents him receiving a salary for this position, he still holds lucrative stock options and has many financial interests in the company. He’s joined his brothers in declaring that Malveaux Oil will go public “over our dead bodies”—after all, he’s sure that accusations of insider trading would start flying if it did. (Malveaux Oil Status ••••)
Carter Malveaux (b. 1923, d. 1965) + Myrtle Malveaux (b. 1925, d. 1999)
• 2. Carson Malveaux (b. 1952) + Barbara Malveaux (née Flores) (b. 1955)
• 3. (His children)
• 2. (Their children)
James Malveaux (b. 1926, d. 1991) + Camillia Malveaux (née Lawless) (b. 1929)
• 2. Orson Malveaux (b. 1950)
• 2. Matthew Malveaux (b. 1954) + Vera Malveaux (née Dyer) (b. 1957)
• 3. Adam Malveaux (b. 1985)
• 3. Savannah Malveaux (b. 1987)
• 3. Susan Malveaux (b. 1990)
• 3. Charlotte Malveaux (b. 1992)
• 3. Elaine Malveaux (b. 1994)
• 3. Virginia Malveaux (b. 1996)
• 2. Nathaniel Malveaux (b. 1957) + Abélia Devillers (b. 1956)
• 3. Caroline Malveaux-Devillers (b. 1989)
• 2. Nathaniel Malveaux (b. 1957) +
Claire Malveaux (née Monroe) (b. 1958, d. 2016)
• 3. Luke Malveaux (b. 1991)
Westley Malveaux (b. 1993, d. 2015)
• 3. Gabriel Malveaux (b. 1997)
• 1. Thomas Malveaux (b. 1933) + Mary Malveaux (née Whitney) (b. 1934)
• 2. (Their three children)
• 2. Other illegitimate children rumored